What is a Feeler Gauge?

What is a Feeler Gauge?
By: J. Dillinger

I have seen a few of these around but never knew the purpose of them. Let’s break down what a feeler gauge is.

Feeler gauges are used to measure the gaps in widths between 2 objects. Feeler gauges are made of different thicknesses and lengths. There are two types of units that the feeler gauge uses to measure, the imperial (thousandths of an inch) and metric (millimeter). Feeler gauges are made out of either blades or wire. The wire feeler gauges are used to measure spark plugs.

The most common Feeler gauges are made from high-quality carbon steel and have a very smooth finish. Blade Feeler gauges can also come in an assortment of stainless steel, brass and plastic. However, metal feeler gauges are easier to maintain and have a better wear resistance.

To use a feeler gauge make sure you examine them before each use. Do this by spreading them out making sure they rust-free, but slightly oiled for easy movement. Select one of the smaller blades or wires and try inserting it into the space. If it slips out easy choose the next side up. When both sides of the gauge touch the gap and it moves with gentle pressure, then you’ve found the correct feeler gauge for that gap.

Blade Feeler Gauge

A blade feeler gauge can also be called a flat feeler gauge. A set generally comes in a holder and contains a series of blades with different thicknesses that are stamped for easy identification. A blade feeler gauge is generally flexible and can be used to reach hard places.

Blade Feeler Gauge Example (KDT161)

Blade Feeler Gauge Example (KDT161)

Wire Feeler Gauge

The wire feeler gauge is a series of round wires with different thicknesses in a holder usually bent into a U shape and are less flexible than the Blade Feeler Gauge. These wire feeler gauges are more frequently used in the automotive industry.

Wire Feeler Gauge Example (KDT2327)

Wire Feeler Gauge Example (KDT2327)

In case you need a combo unit, there are a few manufacturers that make blade/wire feeler gauge sets. Sometimes having one tool is better than having to keep track of two!

Combo Feeler Gauge Example (KDT164)

Combo Feeler Gauge Example (KDT164)

To see the entire feeler gauge category, click HERE!

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Sources: Wikipedia, Cdxtextbook.com, Wisegeek.com

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